Our wall of thorns has yielded an amazing crop of good native blackberries. There are two reliable ways to tell if the fruit is ready to be picked: the fragrance cloud of berry hovering over the hot street, and the gleeful comments from the pickers who routinely return day after day, picking and blabbing.
When I was writing for a real deadline, their banter and exclamations got on my nerves.
“GOD! These are GOOD !”
“I’m not eating MINE. Lookit how many I already have!”
Our house is perched three feet or so from the street, and the street side is the hotter side of the fence. Hence: better fruit. Inside our yard the berries get only five hours of sun.
I got so bothered that I would run out after hurriedly
a) donning my prisoner’s uniform, a perfect berry assault jumpsuit
b) tying shoes, nothing like falling off a ladder because I stood on my own shoelace
c) gloving up, and putting on hat and sunglasses, grabbing bowl, ladder
It’s a lot of bothersome steps, but once I pushed the ladder into the berry bushes, the banter would cease and within minutes our intrepid marauders would wander guiltily away (when I pilf my found fruit, I ALWAYS leave a note first….because of my own experience with unexpected territoriality issues in myself…iI mean, I’m USUALLY agreeable…
well, maybe with food I’m a bit more like a dog guarding its bowl….
Today was a bit different.
I just wanted blackberries, suited up carefully (very uncharacteristic) and was surprised to see a quiet little boy picking from the hedge, his bike standing nearby (I nearly never see bikes held up with a kick-stand)…
“Everyone ELSE picks here ” he said sheepishly.
“Yep, and they are welcome to.” I said, again, not my usual self.
“Do you live on our street?”
Wow. Enterprise! In a Marin child!
Within ten minutes my plastic bowl was half full– enough for two days of fresh fruit with cream. Brew up some tea…rinse the car-fumed berries…blob on the cream…